We didn’t manage a camping holiday this year. Not even a weekend. Bear was sorely disappointed and if Dogford could talk, he would be giving us a hard time too. So how about setting up a campsite in the back garden? Of course they’re not allowed actually to sleep out there (too dangerous!) and they’re not allowed to set fire to the campfire (although it wouldn’t be a proper campsite without one), but for one day only Bear and his toys and Dogford have camped. Thank you September. We couldn’t have done it without you!
I enjoyed my weekend in Ireland. It’s just that I’m pleased to be back. Bear and Mr. Invisible had a fabulous time. I could tell by the state of the house and the lack of clean laundry! I missed them, but I’m glad we did it. I needed to go away to feel grounded again. In the busyness of life it’s easy to lose track of the things that matter. It’s taken me a couple of days and I still haven’t caught up with my jobs, but I’m properly home now.
Mr. Invisible met me at the airport on Sunday night. That’s the start of homecoming. (I love being met from airports.) Next thing ticked off was the red bus. Even when I was at university, my muscles started to relax when I saw my first red bus on homecoming. It’s a bit like the first sip of wine on a summer evening. Indoors, I made Dogford wait while I looked at Bear sleeping soundly in the ‘pea on a fork’ position. He looked huge. He can’t have grown 15 cm in a weekend, so I guess I imagine him as a smaller bear than he really is. Then I let Dogford welcome me properly. Even Lady Catford condescended to be stroked (on her own terms of course!)
Bear’s face lit up when he came into my room on Monday morning. Make no mistake. He had a fantastic weekend, he was bubbling about it and wanted to tell me everything! We were only just on time for school. Walking home through the park after dropping him, I felt the most amazing sense of peace. I felt it again on the the flats this morning. It didn’t rain today (newsworthy!), but there is so much water. The flats are incredibly marshy. Dogford was splashing and generally being a dog. There were the most gorgeous water lillies in the lake. Gentle. There are many beautiful places in the world and lovely people everywhere, but nothing that comes close to home. I’m more certain than ever that it’s my life I’m living, the one I’m supposed to have.
There’s nothing like the aroma of fresh puppy. Life, longing and wholeness all in one sniff. While I can’t say I’d like it as a perfume, neither can I get enough of it! This morning Dogford and I visited a friend’s nine-week-old chihuahua. The puppy wasn’t too impressed when my pooch wagged into his life and started stealing his toys. I guess it didn’t help that he was smaller Dogford’s head.
We let them settle, keeping the youngster on the floor. He might be small, but he’s a whole dog. Although I was desperate for a sniff and a cuddle, I sipped my coffee and bided my time. Before long the puppy was sniffing Dogford’s foot (about all he could reach!) and turning around to allow himself to be sniffed too.
When Dogford was that young, it was exhausting but so much fun. I can only compare it to bringing a toddler home instead of a baby. Mr. Invisible and I used to play ‘puppy tennis’, where you each sit on the floor in a different room and take turns to call the puppy by name. I cried the first time he obeyed the ‘down’ command without help, he wanted to please us so much. His favourite game is still ‘find the cow.’ The toy has changed over the years, but he still loves to seek it out. He even played patiently when Bear was a toddler and hid it in the same place every time!
Dogford hasn’t read the book that says his puppy days are over. He still turns on the bounciness when he meets a young dog and he still loves a cuddle. He’s calmer now though. He steals food less often and he doesn’t steal underpants or socks anymore. I still love the smell of him. He’s every bit the puppy that came home in my arms eight and a half years ago.
If my friend gets even half as much joy from her dog, she’s going to be very happy!